We're in a Holding Pattern: Insights from the IRF's Melissa VanDyke
The top findings from this year’s survey show little change from last year, in part due to the negative economic picture painted in late 2012. The overall message from incentive travel planners seems to be: “Hold steady.” In fact, the majority of planners are showing strong consistency in many aspects of their programs:
Program Maintenance: The vast majority of program owners (almost 80 percent) maintained their programs heading in to 2012, and 90 percent will be maintaining them going in to 2013. Just over half of respondents will be maintaining the same budgets in 2013, with another quarter raising them slightly.
Similar Challenges: It seems the new economy presents a stable set of challenges for planners. Staying within budget, finding the right destination, and negotiating with suppliers continue to be the top challenges, similar to last year’s findings.
Stable Investment: Per-person budgets continue to average around $2,500 per person with the standard program attendance radiating around 160 people.
Flat Trend Lines: Corporate social responsibility and wellness continue to generate a great deal of discussion in the industry, and a consistent third of planners reported using each of these in their programs heading in to 2013.
Foothold: Social media seems to be one of the few places where change is taking hold in the industry. Almost 40 percent of planners now report using social media to promote their programs. Sixty percent of these planners are using Facebook and more than half are using Twitter to get the word out about their programs.